Skip to main content

Full text of "Australian garden history : journal of the Australian Garden History Society"

See other formats


Tasmania revisited 
Albury conference 

Alfred Patterson and a Bathurst park 
Lutyens in Australia 




John and Lynne Landy 

Executive Officer 

Jackie Courmadias 


Australian Garden History, the 
official journal of the Australian 
Garden History Society, is 
published five times a year 


TollFree 1 800 678 446 
Phone 03 9650 5043 
Fax 03 9650 8470 



Postal Address 

AGHS, Gate Lodge 
1 00 Birdwood Avenue 
Melbourne Victoria 3004 

Subscriptions (GST INGLUSIVE) 

For I year 

Single $62 

Family $85 

Gorporate $200 

Youth $20 


Non-profit organisations $85 

Advertising Rates 

1/8 page $132 
(2+ issues$ 1 2 1 each) 

I /4 page $220 
(2+ issues$l98 each) 

1/2 page $330 
(2+ issues$275 each) 

Full page $550 
(2+ issues$495 each) 

Inserts $440 

for Australia-wide mailing 

Pro-rata for state-wide mailing 

Editorial Advisory Committee 

Ghristine Reid 
Richard Aitken 
Max Bourke 
Glenn Gooke 
Paul Fox 
David Jones 
Anne Latreille 
Megan Martin 
Prue Slatyer 
Ghristopher Vernon 


Union Offset (02) 6295 4400 

ISSN 1033-3673 

Cover: The giant Amazon 
waterlily (Victoria amazonica), 
depicted by botanical artist 
Walter Fitch in the stupendous 
book Victoria Regia (1851), now 
on display at Adelaide Botanic 
Garden [courtesy Botanic 
Gardens of Adelaide ] — see story 
on page 2 1 



Colleen Morris 


John Dwyer 


Sarah Lucas 


Malcolm Paul 

Elected Members 

Trisha Dixon 
John Dwyer 
Malcolm Paul 
Sarah Lucas 
Colleen Morris 
Christine Reid 
John Viska 
Lynne Walker 

State Representatives 

Keith Jorgensen QLD 
John DwyerVIC 
Wendy Joyner SA 
Ivan Saltmarsh TAS 
Jill Scheetz ACT 
Chris Webb NSW 
In rotation WA 



Tony Byrne 
PO Box 4055 
Manuka ACT 2603 


Keith Jorgensen 
1 4 Petri na St 

Eight Mile Plains QLD 41 13 
Phone: 07 3341 3933 

South Australia 

Wendy Joyner 
PO Box 7 
Mannum SA 5238 
08 8569 I 197 


Southern Highlands 

Chris Webb 
PO Box 707 
Moss Vale NSW 2577 
Phone: 02 486 1 4899 

Tasmania revisited 


Albury: cultivating a city in the country 


Sydney & Northern NSW 

Stuart Read 

Phone: 9873 8554 (w) 

stu art. read@h e r itage . n au 

Alfred Patterson 

and Bathurst’s Machattie park 




Ivan Saltmarsh 
125 Channel Rd 
TaroonaTAS 7053 
Phone: 03 6227 8515 

‘Return to Lutyens’: Florence Taylor and 
the folly of architecture 


For the bookshelf 1 8 


Pamela jellie 
5 Claremont Gres 

Western Australia 

Sue Monger 
9 Rosser Street 
Cottesloe WA 60 1 I 



Diary dates 


Conference review 



The lake at the entrance to the garden Is a tranquil haven at Woomargama 
Station, home of Margaret Darling former chair and former patron of the Society. 

Photo: Brian Voce 

Tasmania revisited 

Gail Douglass and Trisha Dixon 

The opportunity to join another trip to Tasmania — and to be led by Trisha Dixon 
and Jackie Courmadias — is one many AGHS members would not miss, regardless 
of how many times we have visited this beautiful isle. 

Interwoven during our tour of significant gardens 
were the artist John Glover’s landscapes and 
naturalist Louisa Meredith’s influence on botanical 
art in Tasmania. It was, therefore, with great 
anticipation that we all met earlier this year in 
Launceston to renew old friendships and to begin 
new ones. 

The first part of our tour took us to Mole 
Creek and Chudleigh where we visited Bentley, 
the home of Robyn Hawkins, president of the 
Society’s Tasmanian Branch. After purchasing in 
2003, Robyn and John Hawkins immediately set 
about restoring the single-storey villa (r.I879) and 
surrounds. The natural valley setting has many 
vistas, including to the majestic Great Western 
Tiers. The landscape surrounding the homestead 
is one of planned simplicity. Original stands of 
Quercus and Tilia have been carefully augmented 
with carefully placed trees. The expanses of 
grasslands are surrounded by magnificent dry 
stone walls and a perimeter of layered Hawthorn 
hedges. The two lakes have been enlarged to 
attract water birds and the outer areas have been 
developed with plants indigenous to the area. 

A short drive away was Wychwood, originally a 
bare one-hectare paddock which Karen Hall and 
Peter Cooper have transformed over 14 years into 
a garden that features sweeping lawns, rose and 
perennial borders, grasses, fruit trees, and many 
other drought and frost resistant plants. Clever use 
of large-leafed privet hedging creates rooms, and 
also swirls and twists ending in a blue gravel shape 
with centrally placed a sculpture. In the creek 
paddock is a medieval grass labyrinth, beautiful 
when viewed from above. 

Close by is Old Wesleydale, significant for its early 
Georgian homestead and outbuildings (1836). 

Deb and Scott Wilson have owned it for 6 years 
and have brought the garden — ^including a ha ha 
and amazing Lonicera elephant hedge — back to 
life. Of great interest also were their vegetable 
beds and the large cages full of Macau birds which 
Scott is breeding. 

The Mecca of most AGHS members and other 
privileged gardeners is Fairie Nielson’s Pigeon 
Hill near Burnie which she began 60 years ago. 
Pigeon Hill enjoys a maritime climate with rich 
chocolate soil, but this was a disadvantage in the 

Striking hedges of Cupressus macrocrpo partially enclose Annabel Scott’s garden at Dunedin and provide It with protection from prevailing winds. 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


early years with weeds and noxious plants covering 
the property. Fairie cleared the hills and gullies 
lowering herself down by rope secured from 
above! What she has created is inspirational. The 
magnificent mature plantings of trees, conifers, 
rhododendrons, and shrubs give constant pleasure 
to their creator and the many fortunate visitors. 

Emu Valley Rhododendron Gardens was started 
in 1985 by North Tasmania Branch members 
of the Australian Rhododendron Society. Fairie 
Nielson was a founding member and still works 
in the gardens several times a week. The 13 ha 
garden is a natural amphitheatre with over 20,000 
plants. Hybrid and species rhododendrons and 
their companions are in geographical arrangement 
representing the origins of these species from Asia 
Minor across through to Himalayas and on to 
China, Japan, and North America. 

Susan Irvine is one of Australia’s noted gardeners 
and her collection of roses is legendary. Twelve 
years ago Susan and Bill Irvine, on a fishing trip to 
Tasmania, drove past the fine old Georgian House, 
Forest Hall, with a for sale sign up — the rest is 
history! Susan’s passion and knowledge of roses 
is remarkable and to see them together with the 
fine old oaks, mulberry, hollies, and Amelanchier^ 
mingling with peonies and perennials is a treat. 

Gothic revival Dunedin sits in the centre of the 
10,000 ha property with an immaculate Cupressus 
macrocarpa hedge that once a year takes two 
hedge-cutters an entire week to clip. The garden 
is the creation of Annabel Scott, a passionate and 
intelligent gardener. Her garden is a treasure trove 
of fascinating plants intermingled with her much 
loved favourites in wonderful colour schemes. 

The convict- built home and outbuildings of 
Strathmore date back to 1826. A feature of the 
property is the lake which is joined to the Nile 

Beautiful, sculptural benches, made by Peter Adams, are In carefully 
chosen positions along the walks at Windgrove. 

Getting the perfect shot - Craig Burton captures the view over the 
old parterre garden at Summerhome. 

River by a mill race. Sue and Gordon Gillon 
have brought the garden to life since moving to 
Strathmore in 1993. The walled garden is a fine 
example reminiscent of those built on large estates 
in Ireland and is one of three in Tasmania that was 
heated, the fireplace still evident on the rear side. 

Through the Deddington Valley where John 
Glover lived and painted we come to Uplands 
the home of Georgie and Hamish Wallace. An 
elegantly designed garden with central courtyard 
and wonderful herbaceous borders, Georgie 
batdes the elements and hungry wildlife (including 
deer). There are stunning views from the garden 
across to Stack’s Bluff and the Ben Lomond range. 

On our way to Hobart we visited Cambria 
(1836), once home of eminent naturalist, author, 
and illustrator Louisa Meredith. Overlooking the 
Meredith River, the garden is one of Tasmania’s 
earliest and retains its circular box hedge and 
stately araucarias. 

On the slopes of Mount Wellington is Canning, 
home and garden of Naomi Canning. Her home 
and part of her garden were burnt in the 1967 
fires but many trees survived. This tragedy gave 
rise to a new home, sited higher for views of the 
Derwent River and to have the home flow into the 
garden by use of existing boulders and reflecting 
pools designed by her son Torquil. Naomi’s 


Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 

garden has a wonderful collection of trees and 
plants in particular Nothafa^us species and others 
indigenous to Tasmania. 

Further along the slopes we visited Sally 
Johannsohn, well known for her rare plants 
nursery. Sally has created a quirky exuberant 
garden combining her intense love of plants with 
that of design and creative wood sculpture. Her 
wonderful water spiral sprinklers throw sprays in 
glistening spiral patterns. 

A morning ramble in Richmond was enjoyed en 
route to Marlbrook (1840) at Pontville, garden 
of Mary and Richard Darcy. Sadly fine old stables, 
barns, and granaries were destroyed in the 1967 
fires. The central garden design reflects the simple 
symmetry of the house with four segments defined 
by box hedging and Coprosma ‘Karo Red’ which 
makes an excellent hedge. 

Special viewings were arranged to view Louisa 
Meredith and John Glover’s paintings at the 
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. We were 
also very fortunate on our visit to Government 
House and to have its head gardener conduct our 
tour. The gardens have changed very little from 
the original plans. Formal lawns set off the house 
while informal winding paths lead through the 
woodland setting of a romantic lake made where 
the stone for the house was quarried. 

Summerhome is an excellent example of an intact 
early Victorian garden. It was built at Moonah 
(now a suburb of Hobart) as a rural summer 
retreat. Of particular importance is the huge 
parterre and original glass house with grapevines 
planted outside and an opening for the trunks to 
grow inside in the protected microclimate. The 
plantings are very interesting, being a fine example 
of the Victorian gardenesque style. 

Windgrove presented a total contrast to the other 
visits. The site at Roaring Beach on the Tasman 

Fo/r/e Nielsen, gardener extraordinaire, who delights all with her 
fortitude and her tales of gardening a challenging site. 

At Marlbrook Mary Darcy designed the garden around the central 
axis between the entrance gate and front door. 

Peninsula was originally cleared for a sheep 
farm and had become very degraded, but with 
careful management all the natural vegetation is 
returning. Peter Adams has created a living entity, 
and placed his sculptures and wooden benches 
along a natural pathway that allow visitors to 
meditate or focus their attention to the differing 
landscapes. He has planted thousands of local 
trees and shrubs believing that the trend towards 
natural gardening and blending into the landscape 
will remain part of future gardening. 

The owners of Corinda, Wilmar Bouman and 
Matthew Ryan, have restored their stately 
Victorian home and recreated a classic garden 
including pleached linden trees, box parterres, and 
yew hedges enclosing different colour schemes. 

As we headed back to Launceston we enjoyed a 
visit to the historic township of Ross with its fine 
Georgian cottages and bridge. 

Our final visit was to Beaufront (1837) a 10,000 
ha fine merino wool property which has been 
in the Von Bibra family since 1914. The careful 
positioning of the house on a knoll emphasises 
vistas of the rolling countryside, carefully 
separating the pleasure garden from the utilitarian 
vegetable and picking garden. We experienced the 
incredible richness and diversity of Tasmania and 
its gardens, and enjoyed generosity and hospitality 
from the very special owners and custodians of this 
unique heritage. 

Gail Douglass gardens at Stratford House at 
Tahmoor in the Southern Highlands of New 
South Wales. Trisha Dixon is well-known as a 
photographer, writer, and broadcaster, and her 
latest book — Under the Spell of the A^es: Australian 
country gardens — has just been published by the 
National Library of Australia. 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 



cultivating a city in the country 

Bruce Pennay 

An inland settlement, Albury grew into a municipality a regional city and a growth centre 
within a rural context. As host city for Australian Garden History Society’s 28th annual 
national conference, we look at the history of Albury’s regional landscape. 

Aboriginal occupation 

Dense and sedentary Aboriginal populations 
lived along the Murray River. They had in the 
riverine environment a rich source of fish, game, 
and plants. As a result, there was litde need to 
move from its banks. The river itself probably 
united rather than divided groups and it seems 
to have been one long river-system, rather than 
a collection of separate tribal valleys. There was a 
great deal of exchange along it. People speaking 
languages such as Bangerang, Dhuudhuroa, Kwat 
Kwat, and Wiradjuri lived as several groupings 
in the upper sections of the river. Each clustered 
within the main river valley itself and/or in the 
valley of a tributary, such as the Ovens or Broken 
Rivers. Two kinds of river place seem to have 
attracted Aboriginal peoples: river junctions and 
river shallows. Artefacts suggest that junctions 
were major industrial areas while fishing was 
comparatively easy in the shallows. 

Crossing place 

White explorers Hamilton Hume and Captain 
William Hovell discovered the Murray River and 
signs of the people who lived there in November 
1824. They named the river the Hume and 
inscribed trees on the northern riverbank, where 
they first approached what seemed to be a natural 
ford. Because the river was running swiftly, they 
had difficulty in making a crossing and eventually 
found a way across the river near the site of the 
present-day Hume Dam. 

Pushed by a drought to find pasture and water in 
the mid- 18 30s, several overlanders made their way 
south to the crossing Hume and Hovell had first 
tried to use. In 1835 or shordy thereafter, runs 
were established at Mungabareena on the north 
bank of the Murray, at Wodonga (or Woodonga) 
on the south bank of the Murray opposite 
Mungabareena, and at Bonegilla, to the east of 
Wodonga, between the Murray, Kiewa, and Mitta 
Mitta Rivers. 

There was, however, an abrupt halt to the growing 
movement of livestock south in 1838, when for 
a period of two or three months, there were 
raids, reprisals, and open warfare between blacks 
and whites. Governor Gipps moved to meet the 
resistance and to quell the violence by establishing 
a Border Police unit and a Native Police unit. He 
also established ‘regular halting places or posts 
of protection’ at the principal crossings between 
Sydney and the Port Phillip district — at the 
Murrumbidgee, Murray, Ovens, and Goulburn 
Rivers, and at Violet Creek. Towns were founded 
at these posts, as part of an overall military 
strategy to make safe the route to Port Phillip 
and to settle the inland districts. The Government 
dispatched surveyors to select town sites, including 
one that might be built at the Murray River 
crossing place, where the enterprising Robert 
Brown had established a store. ^ 

Governor Gipps ... established 
^repfular halting plaees or posts 
of proteetion^ at the prineipal 
erossinpfs between Sydney and the 
Port Phillip distriet 

Lady Jane Franklin, on her daring journey 
overland from Port Phillip to Sydney in 1839, 
left signs of her visit behind her. In a letter to 
Sir John in April from the crossing place that 
was to become Albury, she told how she had 
brought a packet of clover seed on her journey 
‘for the express purpose of . . . disseminating 
pastures along the travellers’ track’. She sowed 
seed of white clover ( Trifolium repens) in the 
trench dug around their tent to carry off the rain. 
Throughout the rest of her journey Lady Franklin 
was to sow her seeds wherever she stopped. By 
1860 the white clover — now regarded as an 
environmental weed — had spread luxuriantly.^ 


Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 

Rural township 

Albury — and Belvoir on the southern side of 
the Murray — grew and prospered in the 1850s, 
servicing not only passing travellers but a growing 
number of settlers. The discovery of gold at the 
nearby Beechworth and the Indigo gold fields 
boosted development, and the demand for meat, 
hay, foodstuffs such as potatoes, flour, and grapes. 

In 1856 the New South Wales Government 
agreed to build a bridge across the Murray, as 
part of a number of improvements along the 
length of the Great Southern Road that linked it 
with its gold-rich neighbour, the newly separated 
colony of Victoria. The young Henry Parkes saw 
the significance of the bridge at Albury making 
the link between the old and new colonies. He 
predicted that the capital of a federal union of 
the colonies might be sited at the Murray River 
crossing place to prevent jealousy between the 
two.^ The aptly named Union Bridge was opened 
in 1861 in what Albury folk proudly called the 
Federal City. 

James Fallon, an enterprising general store 
proprietor, prospered supplying the goldfields. 
About 1864, he became a principal in establishing 
steamboat connection with the Echuca railhead 
and Melbourne market. He began to focus on 
the wine trade and acquired the Murray Valley 
Vineyard, building large cellars in central Albury. 

Fallon was important in creating a proud self- 
image — for him Albury was ‘the garden of the 
colonies for the cultivation of wine’. Yet the 
Albury wineries suffered with onerous colonial 
border customs duties and soon after, phylloxera. 
When the Victorian government sponsored vine 
planting and cultivation in the early 1890s and 
production across the river in the North East, 
Victoria boomed.^ 

Railways, wool, wheat, and federation 

The railway from Melbourne to Belvoir (renamed 
Wodonga in 1873) tapped the Riverina trade and 
succeeded in pulling wool to the southern capital. 
New South Wales was concerned about the loss of 
trade and pushed its own railway system to Albury 
in 1881. In 1883, the two railways were connected 
but not joined as they were built to different 
gauges. Despite this, the railway connection 
was perceived as marking a turning point in the 
movement towards Eederation. Through the 1880s 
and 1890s railway tariffs and branch lines also 
helped establish the Riverina as a wheat growing 
area and Sydney as its principal port. 

In 1889, the police magistrate and mining warden, 
Thomas Browne, with his wife Margaret and 
their children, took up residence in 642 Olive 
Street, Albury. Writing under the pseudonym 
of ‘Rolf Boldrewood’, Browne had published 
several novels in serial form during the 1870s 

‘Broad St, Sydney Rd., Albury, N.S.W.' (1 89 1): a charming If slightly naive view of early cottage landholdings on the fringe of the town, evocatively 
capturing the hilly setting beyond the river fats of the Murray. 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


National Library of Australia (pic-an2293206) 

and his latest, Robbery Under Arms^ published 
as he arrived, was a marked success. In 1893 
Margaret Browne published The Flower Garden 
in Australia: a book for ladies and amateurs 
in Melbourne under the pseudonym ‘Mrs Rolf 
Boldrewood’. Claimed as the first gardening book 
written by an Australian woman, it extolled the 
virtues of gardening as a meaningful and delightful 
recreation for country women. ^ The Olive Street 
house the Brownes rented was in a ‘rising part of 
the town’, hailed as Albury’s Hyde Park. A near 
neighbour, Samuel Mudge, had planted Albury’s 
first street tree outside his house at 616 Olive 
Street in 1875. 

Albury Botanic Gardens were established in 1877 
and a horticultural society began in 1886, the 
same year reticulated water supply was ‘turned 
on’. Margaret Browne entered the local show 
competitions, winning prizes for her pot plants 
and hyacinths. As well as gentling her domestic 
space, Margaret Browne’s cultivated garden lent 
to the gentrification of the area and the town. Her 
husband meanwhile lent his support to the town’s 
federal capital ambitions, hailing Albury as the 
‘Washington’ of Australia. 

Albury the Coming City 

Drought at the beginning of the twentieth 
century forced governments to give attention to 
the river. In 1914, the Commonwealth offered 
firm funding proposals to establish storage on 
the river, principally between Cumberoona and 
Ebden, just north of Albury and Wodonga. The 
River Murray Agreement of 1915 established 
the River Murray Commission, and work began 
on constructing the Hume Weir in 1919. The 
building of the weir was a massive project and 
involved a large workforce. This large-scale 
project was frequently compared with other big 
national and world projects. Locally the beauty of 
the lake formed behind the new storage was also 
celebrated in poetry and in song.^ 

The taming of the Murray helped with the 
creation of riverside parks in Albury itself. The 
parks had been suggested by Charles Reade, a 
visiting town planner in 1915. Reade had also 
suggested that council acquire Western Hill for 
the creation of a war memorial on alignment with 
the main street. In 1925 the new war memorial 
was bathed in floodlight by night, within sight 
not only of townspeople but also of those in 
the adjacent rural areas who did not have access 

Albury’s botanic garden and Its riverside parks on the banks of the Murray River began to assume formal shape by 1 888 when this 
lithographed bird’s-eye view was published as a supplement to the local Border Post newspaper. 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 

to electricity. Boosters claimed Albury was 
growing city-like in appearance. Albury was ‘on 
the threshold of citydom’ — ^it was ‘the city of 
tomorrow’, ‘a coming city’.^ 

Garrison towns 

Situated at the break of railway gauge, Albury and 
Wodonga became a place of strategic importance 
during the Second World War. Defence personnel 
expanded the Wirlinga explosives and ammunition 
depot, installed a massive ordnance depot and 
vehicle park at Bandiana, and a large military camp 
and army hospital at Bonegilla. Altogether there 
were about 11,000 defence personnel stationed 
in the district. They required a steady supply of 
locally produced fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk, ice 
cream, meat, firewood. Many businesses in Albury 
and Wodonga had a good war. Yet a series of 
dry summers made the war years hard for local 
farmers and pastoralists. Townspeople did their 
best to promote war effort. They joined the dig 
for peace campaign with vegetable patches and 
the well-to-do raised funds for patriotic purposes 
with fashionable garden parties at Olive Street 
residences. At the end of the war Bandiana 
continued, indeed expanded as an ordnance 
depot and vehicle park, while Bonegilla became a 
migrant reception centre (1947-71). 

Postwar city 

Just before the Bonegilla Migrant Centre 
opened, Albury, along with seven other large 
country municipalities in New South Wales, was 
declared a city. This rush of city declarations was 
part of a revitalisation of local government. The 
postwar years were to be the heyday of large 
country towns. 

Lanes became streets^ paddocks 
became reservesy streets developed 
well-kept verpies 

Houses and their gardens expressed something of 
the urban character of the new city. The firmest 
indication of the city’s achievement, citizens were 
told, was to be found in the built and cultivated 
environment, especially its ‘sturdy garden- girt 
homes’. Lanes became streets, paddocks became 
reserves, streets developed well-kept verges. 
Competitions brought public notice to the most 
diligent gardeners, and had special awards for 
those who had built only in the last two years and 
for those who lived in a Housing Commission 
cottage. The fifties saw the emergence of the 
culture of home and garden. Albury took on the 
appearance and character of a remote suburb of a 
metropolitan centre.^ 

Greening the National Growth Centre 

The new Whitiam Government (1972) launched 
a number of urban and regional development 
projects, including a growth centre strategy. 

The Albury- Wodonga National Growth Centre 
project was to become its iconic decentralisation 
project, set to ‘attract population and economic 
activity away from the major metropolitan areas, 
particularly Sydney and Melbourne, in order 
to alleviate the undesirable pressures on these 
cities’. Subsequent governments cut funding and 
population targets were never reached. Yet critics 
seem to ignore the achievements of the Albury- 
Wodonga Development Corporation, in particular 
how it addressed environmental issues related, for 
example, to the river, parklands, and residential 
estates. In cultivating a city in the country, the 
Development Corporation had a green thumb. 

In cultivating a city in the 
country^ the Development 
Corporation had a pfreen thumb 

At the beginnings of the project, the planners 
drew up protective strategies to preserve the 
natural environment and moved quickly to 
establish an environmental laboratory to keep a 
check on the water quality of the Murray River. 
During the 1980s new conservation policies 
related to the Murray River appeared at the 
national level and governments agreed to take a 
broader approach to the river system itself and 
established a Murray-Darling Basin Commission. 

The Development Corporation established 
Carramar Nursery to propagate trees and shrubs 
for the Development Corporation’s use and 
established an energetic forward tree-planting 
program. Under its superintendent, Harry Jakobs, 
Carramar Nursery produced trees and shrubs 
for planting in urban and non-urban areas. It 
propagated 150,000 plants each year, almost all 
indigenous. These trees and shrubs were planted 
in each residential and industrial estate well 
ahead of the release date, so that there would be 
established growth from the outset. A further 
free issue of 40 shrubs and 10 trees was made to 
each landowner. In 1978 alone. Development 
Corporation staff planted 38,000 trees and shrubs 
in urban areas, and 100,000 in greenfield settings 
at Thurgoona and Baranduda. They landscaped 
125 detached houses, using 5,000 advanced trees 
and shrubs and sowed 90,000 square metres of 
grass. Consultants Margules and Deverson set 
guidelines for a forward tree-planting program in 
1977. The Development Corporation had been 
planting trees at the rate of just over 68,500 each 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


year for 13 years. By 1988, it had produced 1.25 
million trees at an average cost of $2 each.^ 

Less land was needed for development when the 
population target was lowered in 1976 and again 
in 1989. In 1985 the Victorian Land Conservation 
Council recommended that nearly half the land 
surplus to the needs of the Growth Centre should 
be retained for farming, about one quarter should 
be converted into regional parks, and another 
quarter into regeneration areas. 

The Development Corporation 
elustered its housing into newly 
developed estates ... rural values 
pervaded the promotional imagery 

The Development Corporation launched a bold 
Regional Parklands strategy that provided a 
twenty-year strategy for the development of an 
open space system in which hills and streams 
would be integrated. It gave particular emphasis 
to the reafforestation of the major surrounding 
hills to set the landscape character of the city. It 
looked to the development of town parks, riverine 
parks, and wilderness parks. It sought to retain 
the character of the Kiewa River floodplain and 
conserve the Murray River floodplain downstream 
from Lake Hume to central Albury. It made 
provision for recreational uses in a variety of inter- 
connected parklands.^® 

The Development Corporation clustered its 
housing into newly developed estates. This 
was to be a ‘City in the Country’ and rural 
values pervaded the promotional imagery. The 

Development Corporation estates were designated 
as park, wood, green, hill, rise, and heights. The 
new roads took the form and names of crescents, 
drives, ways, circuits, views, closes, places, and 
even mews. The names of estates and subdivisions 
made picturesque allusions to farm, village, and 
rural values. 

One of the most important roles of the 
Development Corporation was the manufacturing 
and selling of the image of Albury- Wodonga. 

In alerting the nation to the potential of the 
‘National Growth Centre’, it portrayed Albury- 
Wodonga as a place with unusual vitality, one that 
had an unusual respect for environmental values. 
Albury-Wodonga was a brand name that won 
national recognition and carried, in the main, 
positive overtones. 

Beyond Growth Centre 

Albury-Wodonga was well sited, planned, and 
managed. The basis was laid, in the growth 
centre years, for an enlarged and economically 
viable inland city in which there were pleasant 
neighbourhoods set within a surrounding area 
that demonstrated an unusually high respect for 
environmental values. From a local vantage point, 
at least, it seems that in spite of the prevailing 
orthodoxy, Australia’s only major attempt at 
selective decentralisation was worth the effort. 

Bruce Pennay is a historian and heritage consultant 
specialising in Australian regional history. He is 
an honorary adjunct associate professor in the 
School of Environmental Sciences at Charles Sturt 

1. T.F. Bride (ed.), Letters from Victorian Pioneers^ 
Heinemann, Melbourne, 1898; A. Andrews, The First 
Settlement of the Upper Murray, 1835-1845, D.S. 

Ford, Sydney, 1920, pp. 31-32, 63-64. Colonial 
Secretary: correspondence from Surveyor-General’s 
office 4/2476.1, particularly 38/2600 and associated 
correspondence at 38/248 and 39/263. Related matters 
at 4/2475, NSW Colonial Secretary, Port Phillip 

1838 4/2423.3, State Records, Sydney. M.F. Christie, 
Aborigines in Colonial Victoria, 1853-86, Sydney 
University Press, Sydney, 1979. 

2. P Russell (ed.). This Errant Lady: Jane Franklin’s 
overland journey to Port Phillip and Sydney, 1839, 
National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2002, pp.47- 
56; J. Dwyer, ‘Weeds in the Victorian Colonial Garden, 
1800-1860’, Studies in Australian Garden History, 2, 
2006, pp.3-4. 

3. Bruce Pennay, ‘Albury the Federal City, 1856-1908’, 

The New Federalist, 3, June 1999. 

4. Border Post, 22 September 1869; Sydney Morning 
Herald, 25 November 1871. David Pope, ‘Viticulture 
and phylloxera in north east Victoria, 1880-1915’, 

Australian Economic History Review, 10 (1), March 

5. Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol.3, 1969, 
pp.267-69; Border Post, 7 March 1890. Mrs Rolf 
Boldrewood, The Flower Garden in Australia (1893), 
reprinted edition, Mulini Press, Canberrra, 1995; D.H.R. 
Spennemann, ‘Mrs Rolf Boldrewood’s The Flower 
Garden in Australia’, Margin, 53, April 2001. 

6. Border Morning Mail, 23 November 1936, 23 February 

7. Ibid., 10 June and 4 September 1937, 29 August 1938. 

8. Border Morning Mail, 23 December 1946, 5 April 1947, 
12 October 1949, 6 April and 19 October 1950. 

9. tirm Cftirr Porr, 5 June 1980. Albury Wodonga 
Development Corporation, Annual Report, 1978. 

Border Morning Mail, 25 June 1988. 

10. Land Conservation Council (Victoria), Final 
Recommendations: North-Eastern Area (Benalla-Upper 
Murray Review), Melbourne, January 1986. A. Grant 
& K Burnham, ‘Albury-Wodonga Regional Open Space 
Assessment’, Australian Parks and Recreation, 21 (4), 1985. 


Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 

Alfred Patterson 
and Bathurst’s Machattie Park 

Spencer Harvey 

Bathurst’s Machattie Park, named for local medico Richard Machattie (181 3-1876), was 
established in 1 890. As its inaugural head gardener; Andrew Patterson was in a strong position 

to influence its early development. 

Early career at Cook Park, Orange 

Alfred Andrew Patterson (r. 1857-1932) was 
born in Drottningholm, Sweden, and following 
study at Upsala University lectured at Hamburg 
University. His field of study is not known, but 
it seems reasonable to assume either surveying 
or botany. He then worked in England before 
migrating to Tasmania, where he was employed 
during the 1880s as a surveyor on the Mount 
Bischoff railway. Following botanical research in 
Queensland, he was engaged as survey or/engineer 
for the Nyngan-Byrock railway in New South 
Wales. Whilst here he enlisted for the Sudan War 
(1885), but en route to Sydney was taken from 
the train at Orange suffering typhoid fever. He 

was subsequently employed by James Dalton, 
MLA for Orange, owner of the large properties 
Kangaroobie and Duntryleague.^ 

When Cook Park, Orange, was opened in 1887, 
through Dalton’s influence Patterson gained 
the position of inaugural head gardener. In early 
1890 a deputation from local worthies from 
Bathurst visited Orange — ostensibly to examine 
the gravitational water supply scheme. At Cook 
Park they met Patterson, mentioning that Bathurst 
council was seeking a head gardener to lay out the 
new Machattie Park and that a competition was 
being held to find a design for the park. Patterson 
decided to offer a design, and later applied for the 
position of head gardener.^ 

This bird’s-eye 
view by ‘Progress’ 

(pseudonym for Bathurst 

architect James Nine) for 

the design of Machattie Park 

was awarded frst prize in 1890: 

the layout was subsequently adapted by 

inaugural head gardener Alfred Patterson as 

he commenced to lay out the park. 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


Bathurst District Historical Society 

Head Gardener of Machattie Park, 

Patterson was duly appointed (from six applicants) 
in April 1890 as head gardener of Bathurst’s 
Machattie Park, at a salary of £2 10s per week 
with a residence. The choice caused some disquiet 
amongst Orange aldermen — the mayor hinted 
darkly that the recent visit of Bathurst council was 
‘for the purpose of inducing Mr Patterson to leave 
Orange’. It seems, however, that Patterson had 
displayed sufficient talent during his three -year 
tenure at Cook Park to attract admiration within 
regional horticultural circles. The Bathurst Times 
reported that Patterson had indicated he would 
prefer the change of situation, perhaps hastened 
by the claim that Orange council had removed an 
assistant, ‘which necessarily threw more work on 
the head gardener, who resented their action’.^ 

The design competition for Machattie Park was 
won by Bathurst architect James Hine, with 
Patterson gaining second place. Patterson’s 
appointment as head gardener, however, meant 
he had the task of implementing Mine’s design, 
sowing the seeds of future problems. Hine was 
also given the task of designing and building 
the cottage, fernery, and band rotunda, while 
Patterson was to layout the park — paths, lawns, 
flower beds, tree plantings, and fernery interior. 
Patterson was faced with a huge task and with 
council approval he made several changes to 
Mine’s plan — resiting the fernery, reshaping 
the pond to form a reverse ‘S’ (but not to 
commemorate the work of Dr Spencer, as Bathurst 
folk lore has maintained), repositioning the great 

fountain, and altering the lines of some paths. 
Faced with this mammoth task Patterson sought 
council sanction ‘to lock up Machattie Park for the 
next four months . . . The Park in its present state is 
unfit for any ladies or children to be walking in.’^ 

In June 1890 Patterson wrote to council seeking 
permission ‘to engage a practical gardener’s 
assistant at £2 2s per week.’^ Henry Lynch was 
appointed and this very profitable partnership 
continued until 1907 when Patterson resigned to 
become the first Shire Engineer for Turon Shire. 
The two were of quite different personalities — 
Patterson, professionally trained, strong minded 
(even irascible), interested in politics and friend 
of politicians (Sir Henry Parkes and Sir George 
Reid are mentioned in his obituary), ready to 
defend his name at the slightest provocation, and 
an accomplished landscape gardener: Lynch, a 
career gardener, a humble, gentle man incapable 
of making enemies, a dedicated churchgoer and 
master bell ringer at All Saints Cathedral, a much- 
sought floral judge, and one who did not seek the 
limelight. It was a great partnership of different 
but strangely compatible personalities.^ 

Developing Machattie Park 

Both Cook Park and Machattie Park were 
located on difficult sites. Cook Park was located 
on a swamp and Machattie Park on the site 
of the old gaol, ‘a wilderness of deformed 
trees and thousands of tons of stones, bricks 
and mortar’. Both gardens were designed in 
the prevailing Victorian style, with wide paths 
suited to promenading, sweeping lawns, exotic 
specimen trees, shrubberies, a lake, and specialised 

Lake Spencer, and constructed In 1 890 and named for local doctor and park promoter William Walter Spencer, is one of Machattie Park’s 
earliest and most striking features providing an irresistible lure for younger visitors. 


Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 

Bathurst District Historical Society 

The marble statues In Machattle Park’s fernery — representing La Priglonlera A’More (Prisoner of Love), Dispaccio D'Amore (Messenger of 
Love), and Psyche (the butterfy-winged muse of Cupid) — have been much-loved features since their Installation In 1901. 

horticultural environments (such as the fernery). 
The cumulative effect upon the visitor was a sense 
of beauty and grandeur. Both parks were also 
symbols of civic pride. ^ 

Preparations for the official opening in December 
1890 were frantic. The fernery was a huge task 
and in August Patterson was given permission to 
travel to the Blue Mountains to collect ferns and 
bush rock.^ The Progress Association provided 
£30 for a fountain in the fernery (obtained 
from Messrs Lassetter & Co.) and in November 
Patterson reported that he had finished excavation 
of the lake and had ‘put down 40 loads of granite 
in the same and have started filling it with water. 

When the Great Fountain was officially opened 
on 24 December 1891, the water flowed via 
an underground pipe to the lake and a further 
pipe took the overflow into George Street and 
eventually it found its way back to Jordan Creek. 
One of Patterson’s greatest contributions was to 
harness this flow of 4000 gallons an hour into an 
irrigation scheme. Channels (eighteen inches deep) 
were cut in different directions, two-thirds filled 
with rubble, covered with pine branches and other 
clippings (as temporary packing), on which was 
placed the turf. Water was let into the drains by 
means of siphons capable of lifting 1000 gallons 
an hour each. It then percolated through the 
stones, filled the drains, and soaked the ground. 

Sluice boxes controlled the flow water, which 
provided deep watering. 

During 1899 Patterson commenced removing 
Monterey pines {Pinus radiata)^ planted for 
screening the earlier gaol reserve boundaries. 

He replanted with Huntingdon elms ( Ulmus x 
hollandica var. ‘Vegeta’), although in timeless 
fashion, the felling of the mature trees provoked 
local anger. Patterson wisely took the precaution 
of undertaking the work in a staged programme. 

Patterson’s career blossoms 

Patterson undertook duties well beyond the 
confines of Machattie Park. In 1895 Bathurst 
Bowling Club was formed and on leased land 
adjacent to the Council Chambers Patterson was 
given the task of developing the bowling green. 

In 1899 he addressed a horticultural conference at 
Bathurst Technical College on ‘Grafting, Pruning, 
Budding and Hybridization’.^^ During 1900-01 
Patterson was seconded by the New South Wales 
Government to organise floral displays for the 
Federation celebrations in Centennial Park, 

Sydney and the arrival of the Duke and Duchess 
of York (the future King and Queen), surely a 
proud moment in his career. His reputation as 
a gardener also flourished throughout the NSW 
Central West with his regular gardening column in 
the Bathurst Daily Times. These monthly articles 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


Bathurst District Historical Society 

had a regional focus on that portion of New 
South Wales, defined by Patterson as ‘Relative 
to the Western District between Mount Victoria 
and Dubbo and intermediate Country’. Severe 
drought in 1902 underpinned his early advice, and 
when things worsened in 1903, Patterson called 
on the state government to institute a massive 
irrigation scheme, with dams, which would 
provide irrigation from Bathurst to Warren. He 
concluded in February that year: 

Mr Editor ... it is simply a farce to advise people 
what to do when they have not the opportunity 
or means (in the way of moisture and water) 
to earry out sueh adviee. When the season has 
ehan^ed, and after rain has fallen, or when 
a lar^e national system of irripfation has been 
aeeomplished throughout the western distriet, 
and when people will be able to aet on the adviee 
pfiven, then — if I am amonpf the living — I shall be 
pleased to eontinue my notes on pjardeninpf}^ 

In late 1904 a small plaque — inscribed ‘Alfred 
Andrew Patterson / Machattie Park / His 
Design - His Memorial’ — appeared on the gate 
at the corner of George and Keppel Streets. The 
originator of this plaque is not officially recorded, 
but it appears highly likely that it was Patterson 
himself. Incensed, Aldermen Absalom Gartrell 
wrote a long letter to the National Advoeate 
advancing the claims of the prize-winner Hine. 
Patterson strongly defended himself, having the 
last word: ‘1 can assure Mr Gartrell that when he 
and 1 have passed away to that unknown region 
beyond, and from which none of us will return, 
that my name will still be known as the designer of 
the only Machattie Park in the Commonwealth.’^^ 

From Drottningholm to Demondrille 

In 1904 Patterson was appointed to the dual 

positions of Superintendent of Works as well as 
Head Gardener for Bathurst Municipal Council. 
When he accepted the position of Engineer for 
Turon Shire Council in 1907 there was a move 
by some Aldermen for him to hold both positions 
although his nemesis, Alderman Gartrell, led a 
‘One Man, One Billet’ campaign to prevent this. 
However, Patterson’s high regard was recognised 
in a testimonial and ‘purse of sovereigns’, with 
Mayor E. T. Webb praising the man who ‘had 
made Machattie Park the beauty spot it was at 

In his new position, Patterson took an even 
greater interest in civic affairs. In 1908 he became 
treasurer of Bathurst District Irrigation and 
Closer Setdement League and was instrumental 
in the development of weirs at White Rock and 
on the Campbell’s River. It is at this time that 
it is believed that he developed the orchard at 
Fortuna (where the present Kelso High School 
stands). However, his feisty nature led him into 
numerous disputes with Councillors and in 1912, 
he was involved in a well publicised dispute 
with Councillor Sullivan over an entry in the 
procession for the Municipal Council Jubilee 
Celebrations.^^ Not long after this Patterson 
resigned from Turon Shire Council, leaving the 
district to take up a position as engineer with 
Weddin Shire Council and later with Demondrille 
Shire Council. In retirement, Patterson lived with 
one of his four sons, A.W Patterson, who ran a 
newsagency in Orange. His first wife died in 1920 
and he remarried in 1927. Alfred Patterson died 
in Sydney on 17 July 1932, a pioneer landscape 
gardener of the state’s Central West.^*^ 

Spencer Harvey gardens in Bathurst and is author 

of The Story of Machattie Park ( 2006 ). 

1. Sydney Morninp Herald 19 July 1932; Bathurst Times^ 
20 July 1932. 

2. C.W. SI Oman, The History of Bathurst^ Runciman Press, 
place, 1994, pp.74-75. 

3. Bathurst Times^ 14 April 1890. 

4. Bathurst council minutes, 5 June 1890. 

5. Bathurst council correspondence received, 19 June 

6. S.W. Harvey, The Story of Machattie Pard Bathurst 
Family History Research, 2006, p.42. 

7. Gutteridge, Haskins, & Davey, Machattie Park 
Management Plan, 1990. 

8. Bathurst council minutes, 14 August 1890. 

9. Report to Bathurst Council, 20 November 1890. 

10. Bathurst Times^ 29 October 1897. 

11. National Advocate^ 21 July 1899. It appears likely that 
one of the original Huntingdon elms survives near the 
Webb Gates in George Street. 

12. Sloman op.cit. p.263; Sydney Morninp Herald^ 19 July 

1932; Bathurst Times^ 20 July 1932. 

\Z. Australian Technical Journal 31 October 1899. 

14. Bathurst council minutes, February 1900. 

15. Bathurst Daily Times^ 4 July 1902; 12 February 1903. 
The state government did institute a massive irrigation 
scheme the following year, not in the Central West, as 
advocated by Patterson, but in the Riverina. 

16. National Advocate^ 13 February 1905, 15 February 
1905; see also Bathurst City Council correspondence, 16 
May 1958. The plaque still remains affixed to the new 
gates on the corner of George and Keppel Streets. 

17. National Advocate^ 15 March 1907. Mr F. Campbell 
was appointed Supervisor of Works and Henry Lynch 
as Head Gardener. Turon Shire later amalgamated with 
Evans Shire, which in 2004 amalgamated with Bathurst 
City Council to form Bathurst Regional Council. 

18. Sloman, op. cit., p.54. 


20. Sydney Morninp Herald^ 19 July 1932; Bathurst Times^ 
20 July 1932. 


Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 

'Return to Lutyens': Florence Taylor 
and the folly of architecture 

Richard Aitken 

Books can occasionally reveal more than covers promise, and this is certainly the case with 
Sydney architect Florence Taylor’s copy of Weaver’s Lutyens Houses and Gardens. 

The bookseller sighed apologetically. ‘It isn’t 
much of a copy I’m afraid’, (or so he thought). I 
meanwhile cheerfully parted with the cost of an 
average meal (in our Olympic city) for the copy 
of Sir Lawrence Weaver’s book Lutyens Houses 
and Gardens {Country Life, London, 1921). It 
was, in truth, in that rather shabby condition that 
booksellers euphemistically describe as a ‘reading 
copy’. Many pages had been cut out and then 
reaffixed — some were still detached — and the 
pages were sprinkled with pencilled annotations. 
My interest had been sparked, however, by the 
ownership inscription of Florence M. Taylor 
(in ink on the front endpaper) as much as the 
Lutyens/Jekyll/mj-6>//. (It takes skill to keep this 
sort of excitement to one’s self until after the 

Florence Mary Taylor (nee Parsons) (1879-1969) 
was born in Bedminster, Bristol, England, and 
aged 4 migrated with her family to Sydney. 

Her father died when she was 19 and to support 
her two sisters Florence turned to draughting. 
Articled to architect Edmund Carton, she 
attended night-classes at Sydney Technical 
School — one of very few females at this time — and 
after five years completed her course (1900-04). 
Well regarded for her design skills and the first 
qualified female architect in Australia, she was 
nominated in 1907 for membership of the 
Institute of Architects of New South Wales but 
claims to have been ‘blackballed’. In that year 
Elorence married George Augustine Taylor 
(1872-1928), a Sydney-born artist, inventor, 
and craftworker who had also trained at Sydney 
Technical College. The pair formed a publishing 
company, which embraced titles in the fields of 
architecture, building construction, engineering, 
radio, and music. Pre-eminent was Building 
(1907-72), edited, until his death, by George 
Taylor, a role then taken on by his wife. Town 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


planning was a major concern of the Taylors, and 
through their journals they were strong and vocal 
advocates. Gardening, although not expressly 
covered by Building^ was treated nonetheless as 
an integral part of design, both at a domestic level 
and on a broader public scale. Tree planting was 
keenly promoted. 

Gardening was a key feature of Weaver’s book 
of Lutyens. Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869- 
1944) was by 1921 in an unassailable position 
at the top of England’s architectural profession. 

His works had long been prominently featured 
by the lavish magazine Country Life — of which 
Weaver was the architectural editor — and his 
engagement as architect for New Delhi (from 
1912) signalled an increasing commitment to 
public projects. Weaver had previously produced 
Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens (1913) for 
Country Life^ and the revised volume — now in 
more modest octavo format — brought to an even 
wider audience the earlier designs of Hestercombe, 
Munstead Wood, Goddards, Little Thakeham, 
Papillon Hall, Lambay Castle, and Lolly Larm. 
Many had gardens planned and planted in 
conjunction with Gertude Jekyll (1843-1932). 

The first of the pencilled annotations to strike 
me were numerous instances of ‘Lrom Lutyens’, 
and one reading ‘Return to Lutyens’. Were 
Llorence and George really on such intimate 
terms with Edwin that he would loan the books, 
only to have them partially mutilated by these 
crass antipodeans.^ The loan theory seemed to 
be blown out of the water by such pencilled 
comments as ‘The rounded corners — a mere 
outlet for the spending of money’ (churlishly 
referring to entrance front of Lutyens’ 1899 
masterpiece, Tigbourne Court), or ‘Striving after 
effect — Paucity of conception’ (slighting the 
loggia at Marshcourt, a Lutyens tour de for ee 
in the Tudor manner). The Deanery, built at 
Sonning in 1900-01 for Country Life propnctor: 
Edward Hudson (for whom Lutyens also altered 
Lindisfarne Castle), with a Jekyll/Lutyens garden 
‘producing effects of singular richness’ came in 
for strident criticism. The ground floor plan is 
annotated ‘Lrightfully cut about / no one w[oul]d 
put up with these levels here / look at the trouble 
& expense in thick walls’, and of the exposed roof 
framing — ^where Weaver lauds the ‘lavish hand’ of 
its creator — the pencilled hand quips ‘Ponderously 
heavy’. Most damning of all is a photograph of the 
dramatic tank and loggia at Lolly Larm, Berkshire 
(1912), annotated with magnificent sang-froid: 
‘Lrightful waste of brickw[or]k — a real arch[itec]t 
c[oul]d not be guilty of such a thing’. The 
comments were presumably intended for private 
consumption only. Or so 1 thought. 

The Taylors were incessant proselytisers for 
architecture in Australia, broadcasting their 
strident opinions through the various magazines in 
their stable. Initially, for instance, they were great 
supporters of Lederal Capital designers Marion 
Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin although 
almost overnight the adulation turned to enmity. 
Opinions were freely and frankly expressed, and so 
1 took my cue from some of the annotations dated 
1925 to see what the Taylors were writing about 
Lutyens in Building. Suddenly the link between 
the book and the journal became clear. During 
that year the Taylors republished several of the 
Country Life images with critical comment, and 
the pencilled annotations were merely a reminder 
to retrieve the loose pages from the printer and 
return them to the Lutyens book in Llorence 
Taylor’s collection. 

Only recently have 1 been made aware of 
scholarship surrounding the Taylors, and in 
particular a forthcoming biography of Llorence 
Taylor by Robert Lreestone and Bronwyn Hanna. 
In this, the authors touch on the differing roles 


Dcslgnecf bjf Sir Edwin Lutyens, 

I From "LtjijciiA Houses anil Gafdtcis.".i 
The Iln^JisIl in? KuppesiNi <4 iil 

lixliitfcroTc, so pPFliipH h doubiflil rLii?e for 
Hie [X>rthniaTS chilij to tiic na.rcnl'# 

proftin; lion ; hut may England’s artiliircciure 
□ever be jnilpivl bj tliB! The mislei of tlic 
cablea jiEid ihc Flic tury- like chimneyf- '.vhicli 
dcinihare the struehLre have ‘bceri inspired hj- 

Ihc Gnlhic, bbi llie rnuikd irclied! openiikj^, lhe 

-rlasaic pilUrs of tlie parrli and Elir -winrlDiv 
h«sl.t hav e — !f1kOLr[tj ]u^e — 'nn-hiik^ Id da 
wilt] the fes:, .nnrl the verirsl rhild studcral Ot 
^rt MihDols VVObiil kii-DU |b-E1(r Elian ta 
1^5' and liiix Elir Eiyn in n rnmpFiKiEiDTi -kvliich 
pOjiiKihly be bnil>.irn|^ h^iE certainl}’- eOulJ 
Dill Ini[lit'u1]v hr eall'^d The Sdw-- 

Booih gables.' ate jlP iFrpEn.iin;;t feature, ay afr 
al&u (be cFLppltd pudinKnt^ to Elie 

i:]|i]iincy sUc-k-s- oi hrik upend all idti' 
^t proftorEinjk hal^nre. OTJsfiiialiiy 

■ihnvvsi j|- 1^^ , 15 ^ nuTterial^ and in It'eid’tiCM'jjr 
Colour iFii-n dfEiffri, Same of the key:? ir? 
FOiiilld -ifclic: and couneN in I hr irrni-^- wall 
^r-c of loudinH til^ :ini.l euiiir ol life quoins- 
aTe of ljtii.'li 


Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 

The University of Melbourne 

Little Thakeham at Stomngton, West Sussex, is widely recognised as one of the finest small houses designed by Edwin Lutyens — perhaps It was 
spared Florence Taylors criticism by its elegant linking of house and garden, and its subtle borrowing from well-loved English architectural elements. 

that George and Florence Taylor played in editing 
and publishing Buildin 0 ^ and it is likely from what 
is known of her character, that the annotations 
and published opinions belonged to Florence. This 
seems conclusively proved by the links between 
Taylor’s copy of Lutyens and her attributed 
writing in Building. 

In January 1925 the magazine published a portrait 
of Lutyens announcing that the great man was 
‘now on his way to Australia’. Accompanying an 
adjoining image of ‘Imperial Delhi’, however, the 
criticism started to pour forth: 

Probably if an Australian architect designed 
a city and buildin^fs such as these, we would 
be fearless enou^jh to call them a motley 
eon^lomeration; but they belong to a man with a 
£ireat name in the architeetural world ... When 
Sir Edwin adheres to pure Classic or Gothic ideals 
his designs are remarkable fine; it is only when he 
enters upon seeessionist ideals that he “falls from 
^raee” as illustrations in his book “Lutyen’s [sie] 
Houses and Gardens” would indicate. 

During the ensuing months the trickle turned 
to a torrent as design after design was subject to 
intense scrutiny (and Lutyens was not alone in 
this). His additions to Folly Farm were blasted 
while the design of Tigbourne Court came in for 
a fearful pasting (somewhat apologetically prefaced 
‘it is doubtful taste for the Dominion child to 
criticise the parent’s production, but ...’). Garden 

features on the whole escaped this opprobrium 
but the pressure seemed to be mounting. Finally 
in October 1925 Florence Taylor signed her 
name to an eight-page article entitled ‘Freak 
Architecture: its contempt for sentimental 
association and correct principles’. In this the 
pencilled annotations in Weaver’s book and the 
published comments can be reconciled. Amidst 
a withering critique of the cream of the world’s 
designers — including the Griffins (whose Newman 
College was illustrated and castigated) — Florence 
again singled out Lutyens. Speaking of his London 
Cenotaph (whose proportions she had derided 
in the pencilled comments) she let fly: ‘Then 
again, there are other architects with personality 
enough to not only influence their clients but 
to convince the general public and win it over 
to their views, such as Sir Edwin Lutyens, who 
can plank [sie^ a mass of stone, meaningless in 
its idea and ungraceful in its outline in the heart 
of London.’ At least this did not qualify for tag 
‘Weird Architecture’ which she used when sinking 
the slipper into another design. 

One wonders what Lutyens would have made of it 
all. Sadly his visit to Australia — like that proposed 
some years earlier by eminent British town planner 
Thomas Mawson — never eventuated. What a 
delicious thought, though, of Edwin meeting 
Florence for a harbour- side drink to go the 
distance on ‘secessionist ideals’ versus ‘sentimental 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


Photo: Richard Aitken 

For the bookshelf 

Anne Wilkinson, The Passion for Pelargoniums: how they 
found their place in the garden, Sutton, London, 2007 
(ISBN 978 0 750 94428 I): hardback RRP $49.95 

While there exist extensive references to camellias, 
roses, liliums, narcissus, and numerous other 
decorative plants there is comparatively little on 
zonal pelargoniums (aka geraniums) and regal 
pelargoniums (pelargoniums). These two hardy 
stalwarts have long been considered main- stay 
examples of the earliest colonial Australian gardens 
and almost every garden style since. Yet they 
have also been dogged with the widespread view 
that they are too common to be considered the 
subject of much detailed historic research. Anne 
Wilkinson’s book The Passion for Pelargoniums 
changes that perception and adds historic hybrids 
to the extensive survey of species found in Diana 
Miller’s Pelargoniums (1996) and van der Walt 
and Ward-Hillhort’s three-volume monograph 
Pelargoniums of Southern Afriea (1977-88). 

Wilkinson adds a considerable amount of 
biographical and historical information concerning 
the plant hunters, botanists, amateur enthusiasts, 
and professional growers that enriches the basic 
background facts presented by the authors of the 
previous two botanical and descriptive works. 

While the coverage is essentially drawn from 
British sources there is mention of contemporary 
French and German activity and personalities. 
Although more sketchy towards the current era 
there is acknowledgement given to two Australian 
contributors to the development of geraniums and 
pelargoniums, Ted Both and Rob Swinbourne. This 
is pleasing, but perhaps not as thorough as it might 
have been. For instance. Ten Bode is one Australian 
breeder of regal pelargoniums who comes to mind. 
His plants were almost exclusively exported to the 
USA and introduced by greenhouses to the large 
market there. His contribution, while perhaps not 
so wide ranging as that of Both, was nonetheless 
international and significant. That small niggle 
aside The Passion for Pelargoniums is a good 
survey of the development, hybridisation, and 
introduction of that genus. Strongest in the earlier 
years of discovery and collecting the book tapers off 
somewhat as the whole field became more complex 
and international in the tewntieth century. But for 
most gardener-historians the earliest records are the 
most interesting, and later information can, in many 
instances, be supplemented adequately by local 
resources and research. 

The presentation of the book is not up to the mark 
for a modern publication. There are too many 
black and white illustrations. Where these are taken 

‘Mrs Pollock': an old favourite 

from engravings and early photographs black and 
white is an acceptable format. However, this is not 
the case where brilliant hand- coloured nineteenth- 
century plates and examples of early colour printing 
are used. While it may seem selfish to expect such 
treatment it is the standard for today and the book 
is diminished for the want of an understanding of 
this on the part of the designer and production 

A modern summation of a neglected field of garden 

Trevor Nottle 

Jessie Sheeler, The Garden at Bomarzo: a Renaissance 
riddle, Frances Lincoln, London, 2007 (ISBN 978 0 
71 I 22673 9): hardback RRP $59.95 

Those fortunate enough to have visited the 
Saero Boseo of Pier Francesco ‘Vicino’ Orsini at 
Bomarzo will know the fascination this strange 
garden exerts. No less so for those who know it 
only from illustrations in books — the garden of 
monsters, grotesques, mausolea, temples, theatres, 
and inscriptions exerts a profound and compelling 
influence. The reality and the imagery strike the 


Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 

Botanic Gardens of Adelaide 

same sparks. What is this holy garden about. ^ What 
does the structures and inscriptions mean.^ 

Two earlier references have investigated the Sacro 
Bos CO at Bormarzo in detail. Claudia Lazzaro set 
the garden in the context of Italian Renaissance 
gardens as the principal example of Mannerist 
ideas influencing garden design in The Italian 
Renaissance Garden (1990) while Margaretta 
Darnall and Mark Weil produced a detailed and 
scholarly examination of Bomarzo against a broader 
literary and artistic canvas in a dedicated edition 
of the Journal of Garden History (1984). Since 
then the garden has undergone a major restoration 
programme and a significant development as a 
touristic site. Abandoned by the Orsini family when 
Vicino died in 1584 the garden lay derelict and 
visited by very few until it was filmed by Salvador 
Dali and local art critic Mario Praz in 1949. Visits 
and study of the garden have grown from there. 
Sheeler’s book provides and much needed link 
between the two earlier studies. It gives more 
detail than Lazzaro provides and makes accessible 
the material discussed in academic complexity by 
Darnall and Weil. 

The garden is a mystery and mysterious. It gives 
rise to many questions, as its creator intended it 
to. The problem for modern visitors is that few 
have the cultural insight or knowledge of the 
symbolism and meaning embedded in the strange 
landscape they encounter. Interpretation is needed 
and Sheeler strikes an elegant balance between the 
interplay of academic, political, religious, sexual, 
philosophical, mythological, and mundane aspects 
of the composition. Perhaps most crucially of all 
Sheeler establishes the Sacro Bosco as the means by 
which a war- and world-weary man unburdened his 
heart of personal and political disappointments and 
intellectual disillusionment. 

A highly satisfying book of great interest — a 
window into another, distant age. 

Trevor Nottle 

Robert freestone, Designing Australia’s Cities: culture, 
commerce and the city beautiful, 1900-1930, UNSW 
Press/Routledge, Sydney, 2007 (ISBN 978 0 868 
4081 I 8): paperback RRP $49.95 

The planning history of our cities is one that has 
received surprisingly little popular attention. While 
the catalogue abounds in detailed studies — ^Adelaide 
and Canberra between them account for the bulk 
of this literature — national overviews, much less 
international contexts, are thin on the ground. In 
this rarefied atmosphere, Robert Freestone has 
been a generous contributor. His earlier Model 
Communities: the garden city movement in 

Australia (1989) provided a comprehensive 
overview of urban planning in the period 
now under review (1900-30) and Designing 
Australians Cities now provides a complementary 

By its very nature, the city beautiful went to work 
on the heart of the metropolis, seeking to pump 
life into central business districts slowed by the 
1890s depression and still choking from piecemeal 
colonial developments. Or, so the city- beautiful 
proselytizers argued. As Freestone points out in his 
introduction, the ideals of the city beautiful derived 
from both sides of the Atlantic, and had as their 
aim a fusion of beauty and utility. The portmanteau 
of ‘beautility’ — coined in the early 1900s by 
American architect- designer Arnold Brunner — 
made its journey to the antipodes through a mix of 
professional designers and hard-nosed agents, the 
‘culture and commerce’ of the subtitle. 

Freestone’s wide-ranging research and cogent 
analysis provide a meticulous picture of this 
predominantly design-based style of town planning. 
Until now, the major source on this style — ^William 
H. Wilson’s The City Beautiful Movement 
(1989) — has presented a dominant North American 
narrative, but Freestone’s Australian focus allows 
British and continental European sources to redress 
an imbalance. This is not to downplay North 
American influence on Australia at this time, which 
was crucial. Instead, the author is free to use the 
Australian situation as an international case study 
in the global transfer and development of town 
planning ideas. Freestone also sees a distinctively 
local contribution in the nurture of ‘a nationally 
distinctive strain of early planning advocacy’. 

Designing Australians Cities sits midway between 
traditional scholarly erudition and the new ‘lively 
and accessible’ mode favoured by some publishers. 
This book is about ideas and outcomes, and for an 
expansive subject these warrant a generous design 
and layout. A book just over half as thick but double 
the page size may have permitted the integration for 
which I yearned, and at the same time quadrupled 
the market for this commendable new addition to 
the literature on Australian history. Still, the market 
forces which dictate such decisions were also at the 
core of the city beautiful movement. Our town 
planning has often been an uneasy balance between 
civic ambitions and commercial realities, and this 
book will hopefully stimulate renewed debate of 
past successes and failures. 

Richard Aitken 

A much expanded version of this review is 

published in a special art and architecture edition of 

Australian Book Review (November 2007). 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


Just released 

Christmas always brings a flurry of new ^ardenin^ titles. Here we present a seleetion of reeent books, 
many of whieh will be reviewed at greater length in eoming issues. Enjoy the bumper erop. 

Australian Gardens: National Trust Desk Diary 2008, 
Women’s Committee of the National Trust of 
Australia (Victoria), East Melbourne, 2007 (ISBN 978 
I 876 47361 7): hardback RRP $25 (also available 
spiral bound) 

No surprises here. Sensible arrangement of week- 
to-an-opening spreads juxtaposed with evocative 
images of significant Australian gardens by some 
of Australia’s best-known photographers. 

Daniel Bunce, Manual of Practical Gardening (Hobart 
Town, 1838), facsimile edition. Friends of Geelong 
Botanic Gardens Inc., Geelong, 2007 (ISBN 978 0 646 
47975 0): paperback RRP $31.40 (includes postage) 

This pioneering colonial guide (and that of 
Thomas Shepherd — see below) should be on 
the bookshelves of every AGHS member. Now 
available at modest cost from the Geelong Friends 
(PO Box 235, Geelong, Vic., 3220). Full review 
in a future issue. 

Holly Kerr Forsyth, The Constant Gardener, 

The Miegunyah Press, Carlton,Vic., 2007 (ISBN 978 0 
522 85432 9): hardback RRP $75 

Without even opening this breezy romp from 
journalist Holly Kerr Forsyth the book seems 
preternaturally destined for the Christmas 
stocking. Owing a debt to Stephanie Alexander’s 
Cookes Companion, historical snippets blend with 
recipes, cultural notes, garden design advice, 
and myriad colour photographs by the author. 
Available through the AGHS at discounted price 
($56 plus postage and handling). 

Jeanette Hoorn, Australian Pastoral: the making of a 
white landscape, Fremantle Press, Fremantle, 2007 
(ISBN 978 I 920 73154 0): paperback RRP $29.95 

Using paintings in the pastoral tradition and ideas 
surrounding the culture of land in Australia, the 
author provides a refreshing new look at the often 
uneasy relationship of people and the land through 
the lens of pastoralism. 

Landscape Gardening in Australia:Thomas Shepherd, 
Mulini Press, Canberra, 2006 (ISBN 0 949 91098 8) 
paperback RRP $40 

Facsimile reprint of this classic Australian text from 
1836 with an introduction by publisher Victor 
Crittenden (PO Box 82, Jamison Centre, ACT, 
2614). Full review in a future issue. 

John Macarthur, The Picturesque: architecture, disgust 
and other irregularities, Routledge, London, 2007 
(ISBN 978 I 844 7201 I 8): paperback RRP $65 (also 
available in hardback) 

A highly original look at this eighteenth- century 
concept by Australian academic John Macarthur 
from The University of Queensland. Full review in 
a future issue. 

Charles Quest-Ritson, Gardens of Europe: a traveller’s 
guide. Bloomings Books, Burnley,Vic., 2007 (ISBN 978 
I 876 47330 3): hardback RRP $89.95 

Guide to over 600 gardens including brief 
historical notes on each garden and in the national 
or regional introductions which provide the 
structure of this weighty volume. Well-known 
British author, now resident in France, and an 
Australian publisher. 

Tim Richardson, The Arcadian Friends: inventing the 
English landscape garden. Bantam Press, London, 2007 
(ISBN 978 0 593 05273 0): hardback RRP $65 

A lively look at eighteenth-century English 
garden-making told through a fascinating 
interlinked biographical narrative. If you liked 
Jenny Uglow’s The Lunar Men (2002) you’ll 
enjoy this even more. 

David Symon & Manfred Jusatis, Sturt Pea: a most 
splendid plant. Board of the Botanic Gardens and 
State Herbarium, Adelaide, 2007 (ISBN 0 9775 6082 
I): hardback RRP $55 (also available in paperback and 
deluxe quarter-bound leather) 

The story of an iconic South Australian plant told 
through its history and discovery, naming, biology, 
cultivation, and marketing, as well as fascinating 
cultural history of its use in art, design, legend and 
literature. Sumptuously illustrated and definitive. 

John Walter, SGAP: the story of Arthur Swaby and the 
Society for Growing Australian P/ants, Australian Plants 
Society (SGAP Victoria) Inc., Hawthorn, Vic., 2007 
(ISBN 978 0 909 83062 5): paperback RRP $29.95 

A meticulously researched account of SGAP 
including notes on pioneering Australian plant 
enthusiasts active before the Society’s formation in 
1956. Full review in a forthcoming issue. Contact 
SGAP (PO Box 357, Hawthorn, Vic.) for sales 


Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


Journal editorship 

Due to pressure of her burgeoning media 
commitments Genevieve Jacobs has recendy 
resigned as editor of Australian Garden History. 
Until other arrangements are put in place, the 
journal will be edited by members of the AGHS 
National Management Committee and Editorial 
Advisory Committee. All correspondence 
regarding the journal should be directed to the 
AGHS office. In future issues we can look forward 
to features on Bolobek, Adelaide Park Lands, and 
nationalism in Australian gardens. 


Amazon Water Lily blooms again 

The new Amazon Waterlily Pavilion at Adelaide 
Botanic Garden was opened in early November 
by South Australian premier Mike Rann. The 
striking new glasshouse, designed by Adelaide- 
based Flightpath Architects, retains the basin of 
Richard Schomburgk’s original Victoria House 
(1868). To celebrate the opening of the new 
house, an exhibition featuring the giant Amazon 
waterlily ( Victoria amazonica) is open until early 
2008 in the adjacent (and soon-to-be-restored) 
Museum of Economic Botany. A highlight is the 
ABG’s copy of Hooker and Fitch’s extremely rare 
and spectacular Victoria Re^ia, or illustrations of 
the Royal Water-Lily (London, 1851), recently 
acquired through a generous benefactor. Welcome 
news also that Pauline Payne’s long-awaited 
biography of Richard Schomburgk — ^whose older 

brother Richard was instrumental in bringing 
viable seed of the lily from British Guiana 
(Guyana) to England — is soon to be published 
by Jeffcott Press (enquiries to 59 Jeffcott Street, 
North Adelaide, 5006). 


Cultural and historical geographies of 
the arboretum 

Our sister society, the UK- based Garden History 
Society, has arboretums (or arboreta if you wish) 
as the theme of its latest issue of Garden History 
(supplementary issue 2 of volume 35: 2007). 
AGHS NMC member Max Bourke’s article 
‘Trees on trial: economic arboreta in Australia’ 
sits alongside contributions from the likes of 
Stephen Daniels and Brent Elliott. This special 
issue — ^which has many resonances for Australian 
readers and researchers — originated in the School 
of Geography at the University of Nottingham 
where the guest editors are based, and in papers 
presented to a conference hosted by the Linnaean 
Society of London, held in September 2006. 


Jottanda invokes a splendid archaic word meaning 
a collection of jottings, first used in a gardening 
context by Irish civil engineer, geologist, and 
seismologist Robert Mallet in his ‘Horticultural 
Jottanda of a recent Continental Tour’, published in 
Loudon’s Gardener’s Magazine in February 1833. 

Adelaide Botanic Garden’s new Amazon Waterlily Pavilion, opened In November 2007 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


Photograph: Richard Aitken 

Diary dates 


Sunday 25 
ACT /Monaro/Riverina 
Bus Field Trip noon to 4.15pm: 
Charles Weston’s landscapes 
established in Canberra 1913-1926 
with Dr John Gray. The field trip 
will commence at 12 noon sharp 
at the intersection of Banks and 
Brown Streets, Yarralumla adjacent 
to Westbourne Woods arboretum 
(Royal Canberra Golf Course). There 
is ample space there to park cars. 
Bookings essential. Members $20, 
Non-members $25 BOOKINGS: 
exper tco@ozemail . com . au. 

Sunday 25 

ACT/Monaro/Riverina, Yarralumla 
Branch end of year drinks. 4.30pm. 
Cafe, Yarralumla Gallery & Oaks 
Brasserie. Members free, non-members 
$5. Bookings appreciated for catering 
purposes. CONTACT: Judy Pearce 
exper tco@ozemial . com . au. 

Sunday 25 

Queensland, Lower Beechmont 
Christmas Break-up. Meet at 10am at 
200 Freemans Rd, Lower Beechmont 
(telephone (07) 5533 1409). AGHS 
will provide tea, coffee, sugar, and 
milk. Bring lunch items to share. 

Cost: Members: $10. Guests: $15 
CONTACT: Gill Jorgensen by 20 
November, (07) 3341 3933 or 
j orgenkg@picknowl . com . au . 

Sunday 25 

Southern Highlands, Wildes 

Wildes Meadow Garden Ramble, 

10am. A visit to 3 gardens in Wildes 
Meadow, Linden Brae a 20 year 
old country garden which is rarely 
opened. Dragon Farm which is a 
plantswoman’s garden surrounding 
a lOOyr old farm house and Pat 
Bowley’s Birchbeck an amazing garden 
of rare and unusual plants in Cleary’s 
Lane. The first garden to be visited 
will Birchbeck where morning tea will 
be served followed by Linden Brae 
and then a BYO picnic at Dragon 
Farm. Cost $30 Members $35 non 
members. CONTACT: Sue Trudeau, 
strudeau@trudeau. com . au 


Tuesday 4 
Victoria, Parkville 
Celebratory drinks in support of a 
fund to commemorate Nina Crone. 
6-8pm at University College, College 
Crescent (Melway 2B,C3). Donation 
$45 per person. 

RSVP Kathy Wright 
(03) 9596 2041 

Sunday 9 
Sydney, Wahroonga 
Christmas Party, 25 Lucinda Avenue, 
Wahroonga, 5 -7pm. Cost: $15/20 
non-members, includes refreshments. 
Bookings essential. Bookings & 
enquiries: CONTACT: Stuart Read, 
(02) 9873 8554 (w) 

(02) 9326 9468 (h) or 

Sunday 9 

South Australia, Stirling 
Christmas Drinks at Beechwood, 
Stirling 5pm. Donation is $10 per 
person. Drinks will be provided. 
Members are asked to bring a plate 
of Christmas fare. CONTACT: 

Lyn Hillier (08) 8333 1329 by 
5 December 

Wednesday 12 
Victoria, Princes Hill 
Christmas celebration at the North 
Carlton Railway Neighbourhood 
House, 20 Solly Avenue, Princes 
Hill (Melway 29, Hll) Please bring 
a photograph of a garden ornament 
to display. BYO picnic (gas BBQ, 
and seating available) CONTACT: 
Pamela Jellie 9836 1881 or email 

Friday 14 

Southern Highlands, Moss Vale 
Christmas Party and Botanic Art 
Exhibition Opening. The launch 
of our inaugural AGHS Botanic 
Art Exhibition will this year be 
combined with our branch Christmas 
party We have 18 botanical artists 
exhibiting and world renowned artist 
Susannah Blaxill will be opening the 
exhibition. CONTACT Sue Trudeau, 
strudeau@trudeau .com . au 


Thursday 14 
Victoria, Clifton Hill 
February Walk and Talk at 6.00pm. 
Meet at picnic rotunda at Quarries 
Park, Clifton H il l. Enter park at 
junction of Wright and Dwyer Streets 
(Melway 44 Cl) and follow path to 
the right. BYO picnic and comfortable 
walking shoes. A member of the Merri 
Creek Management Committee will 
speak about the landscaping and 
re -vegetation programs that have 
successfully created a wildlife corridor 
along the creek and so enhanced the 
recreational amenity of the area. After 
the talk we will walk from Quarries 
Park along the Merri Creek trail for 
about half an hour to look at the 
newly created wetlands and plantings 
of indigenous species. Friends and 
family welcome. CONTACT: Bronwen 
Merrett email: 


2008 Autumn Tour to the Monaro 
region of New South Wales led by 
Trisha Dixon, 27 April - 4 May 
2008. Accommodation Novotel Lake 
Crackenback. ENQUIRES: AGHS 


29th Annual National AGHS 
Conference, Southern Highlands 
NSW. 10-12 October 2008. 

Recherche Bay 

Members will be delighted that 
Dick and Pip Smith have made an 
additional gift of $1.37 million 
towards land acquisition at 
Recherche Bay. This gift concludes 
the fund raising campaign for 
purchase of the reserve. Dick 
Smith emphasised that the 
appeal was a ‘testimony to what 
passionate people can do to leave 
a positive impact on our unique 
Tasmanian environment and the 
lives of all Australians.’ 


Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 

Conference review 

Meandering about the Murray: 28th 
Annual National Conference 

Taking as its theme ‘Interpreting the landscape 
of the Albury region’, the Society’s 28th Annual 
National Conference was a popular one. Booked 
out early, almost 200 people participated and 
despite problems finding gardens to visit (due to 
the drought), a very full program over four days 
was undertaken. The first day and a half was as 
usual given over to lectures. 

Dr Bruce Pennay took us from the Wiradjuri’s 
river ‘Millewa’, to Hume and Hovell’s ‘Hume 
River’, and on to Charles Sturt’s ‘Murray River’. 
He described the waves of public projects which 
have shaped the city from river crossings, road, 
rail, a potential Federal city, to its part of the 
process of post World War II migration and on to 
the most recent attempt to get people to live in 
inland Australia, the Albury- Wodonga project. An 
interesting setting of the local scene was told with 
knowledgeable humour. (See story on page 6.) 

Dr Daniel Connell described the journey of 
Australians from colonial times to the present in 
trying to find a way to be better river managers. 

In particular he focussed on the central part the 
Murray- Darling River management played in the 
early debates surrounding Federation and beyond. 
He pointed out while the present situation was 
cause for great concern and effort, we should 
look back to some of the serious and intelligent 
attempts to do it better, tried at the end of the 

nineteenth century and in the early part of the 
twentieth century. 

Glen Johnson took us along the river via the 
arboreal habitat formed by the corridor of river 
red gums. He showed us the extraordinary 
diversity of life these magnificent trees support 
and the way in which they fit into the ecosystems 
of dry Australia by being green corridors on 
the meandering rivers often separating the wet 
from the arid interior. John Hawker next led 
us through the ‘treescape’ of introduced species 
which now gives the texture of a cultural landscape 
rather than a natural landscape, and so led us into 
‘gardening of the environment’. 

Dr Richard Groves introduced us to differences 
in the concepts of ‘introduced plants’, ‘naturalised 
plants’, and finally for a small but very significant 
subset of both to become ‘weeds’. He did this by 
tracing the trajectory of largely garden escapes, 
from the Macarthurs at Camden Park and African 
Olive, to Mrs Patterson (with two ‘t’s) — ^who may 
receive more blame than she should for the spread 
of Rivetina violets — to Saint Edna Walling and 
her Baby’s Tears, which perhaps should have been 
called by its NSW name. Bony Tipped Fleabane, 
which Richard suggested might have limited its use! 

John Dwyer took us on the journey of the 
Hypericum (St John’s wort) invasion. From Bright 
and its racecourse it appears to have travelled, 
largely by road, to now cover some 900,000 
hectares of Victoria despite attempts at biological 

Exploring Woomorgama. The view from the courtyard at Woomargama looks over a ha- ha to the paddocks beyond. 

Australian Garden History V0I.19 N0.3 Nov/Dec 2007/Jan 2008 


Photo: Brian Voce 

Paterson’s Curse (Echium plantagineum), now a major weed, was a topic of conference lectures and featured prominently in the landscape of 
the Albury area. 

and legal controls. He showed us how ‘effective’ 
legal proclamation had been (not much!) and 
made us pause to think whether natural remedies 
are worth the price! The speed of this plant’s 
spread is an object lesson is what can happen when 
plants jump the garden fence. 

Dr Sarah Ryan and Kay Johnston took different 
journeys to come to the same conclusion. They 
looked at the way we have shaped both nature and 
gardens to arrive at a point where we have to work 
with nature probably for our own survival and 
the survival of the rest of the ecosystems which 
we cherish. Prue Smith, who knows the gardens 
of the region well, gave us a sense of faith in the 
future by reminding us that historic gardens of 
the future are still being created in Albury and its 
surrounds today. 

Trisha Dixon related the connections between 
writers and a sense of this place. She urged people 
to read the work of Rolf Boldrewood (who lived 
in Albury) Robbery under Arms^ and as her talk 
unfolded she made the links with as diverse a 
range of writers as Barcroft Boake, Elyne Mitchell, 

Patrick White, and Banjo Patterson — an eclectic 
mix indeed. 

Dr David Dunstan presented a story of 
heroic efforts to start a new industry in a new 
environment beaten in the end of by the vine 

Mission Statement 

The Australian Garden History Soeiety is the leader in concern for and conservation of significant cultural 
landscapes and historic gardens through committed, relevant and sustainable action. 



Phone: 03 9650 5043 ■ Tollfree: 1800 678 446 ■ 



louse. Phylloxera^ and changes in the tariff system. 
Sadly the decay of even the physical remnants is 
rapid and David’s book. Better than Pommard 
(new edition out next year) might be the only 
record of it in years to come. 

And finally we had an excellent overview from most 
of the gardeners whose places we visited over the 
next two and a half days. The best conclusion I can 
use, however, is provided by the beautiful words of 
that great Australian poet, Bruce Dawe, who was 
commissioned to write this piece a few months ago 
for the opening of the new Albury Library: 

Here in this place both pout and future meet 
And in the living prevent join their power, 

And, av in every union thatv replete. 

There io a richnevv which tranvcendv the hour. 

And makes it memorable for years to coine 
So time will add its own encomium . . . 

Since each of us, they say, is a living river 
This tribute to our lives and to our land 
Will serve to unite the gifted and the giver 
And reinforce what we all understand: 

That arts and learning merit our devotion 
Just as our rivers feed both land and ocean. 

Max Bourke AM 

Photo: Brian Voce